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SPINAL INJURIES

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are the result of trauma or disease. The effects of spinal cord injuries are dependent upon the location of the injury and severity of the injury. Spinal cord injuries are in one of two categories, either complete or incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries are injuries that result in individuals having no movement or sensations below the injury level, or site. Incomplete spinal cord injuries are injuries where individuals may have some movements or sensations below the injury level.

When individuals suffer from spinal cord injuries the spinal cord generally starts to swell. When the spinal cord swells there will usually be changes that occur in every part of the individual's body. With time the swelling begins to reduce and some individuals with spinal cord injuries may be able to regain sensation and regain function. Unfortunately, only a very small percent of individuals who suffer from spinal cord injuries go on to recover all of their functioning.

Some people assume that people who have suffered from spinal cord injuries will be forced to live out their lives in powered wheelchairs. That is not necessarily true. You should know that wheelchairs are simply mobility tools. Depending upon the type of spinal cord injuries that are involved, some individuals are able to use manual wheelchairs. While it is true that manual chairs are less expensive that power wheelchairs, power chairs can truly give someone with limited mobility independence. Some people with spinal cord injuries do not require wheelchairs. They are able to be mobile using crutches and braces. Some people will use both crutches and braces and wheelchairs. For instance, individuals who can get around with crutches and braces may opt to use wheelchairs if they are somewhere which requires them to walk a great distance.

It should be noted that people who have suffered from spinal cord injuries are not wheelchair bound 24/7. Many people who are living with spinal cord injuries can drive, sit at a desk, ski and even fly airplanes! They also get out of their chairs in the privacy of their own home, sit in a recliner, on the couch or play in the floor with their children. People who have spinal cord injuries are no different than anyone else, they just have a disability.

To date there is no cure for spinal cord injuries. However, the medical community is making great strides in figuring out ways to reduce secondary problems related to spinal cord injuries. It is hoped that as research continues that one day there will be a cure found for spinal cord injuries.

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act people who have suffered from spinal cord injuries are no longer being stereotyped or shut out of the workplace. People who have disabilities have the right to live, work and be a part of society as much as anyone else. If an employer discriminates against someone who has a disability they can be in legal trouble.

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